The fintech industry has brought about many technological advancements, including the rising popularity of cryptocurrency. At the end of 2020, over 40 per cent of Southeast Asia’s FinTech companies were based in Singapore, Asia’s highest-ranked FinTech city in Findexable’s Global FinTech Index.
But what exactly are cryptocurrencies, and how do their increased popularity affect workers?
Cryptocurrency – Not as Cryptic as You Think
A cryptocurrency is a virtual currency secured by cryptography, making it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Some common examples include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Litecoin (LTC).
Fiat currency, also known as money, is managed by a single entity that creates and regulates it, the central bank. Money only works in the country it was made in, creating the need to exchange it when travelling to other countries.
However, cryptocurrencies in a blockchain are not created or regulated by a central location, allowing multiple users to maintain and validate it in a massive peer-to-peer network. As such, the value remains the same worldwide.
The Rise of Fintech
Singapore’s Fintech Report 2022 indicated that Singaporean consumers and SMEs are rapidly embracing virtual banking.
DBS is one company that has expressed plans to pursue further in cryptocurrency.
With its Digital Exchange (DDEx) launching trust services for digital assets, DBS has enabled institutional and accredited investors to tap into a fully integrated tokenisation and trading ecosystem for digital assets.
“The exponential pace of asset digitalisation provides immense opportunities to reshape capital markets. For Singapore to become even more competitive as a global financial hub, we have to prepare ourselves to welcome the mainstream adoption of digital assets and currency trading,” said DBS Group CEO Piyush Gupta on 10 December 2020.
As reviewed in the 2021 financial year budget, DDEx recorded over SGD 1.1 billion in trading value.
Owing to the positive response towards the platform since its launch in August 2021, DBS aims to continue scaling up its digital asset ecosystem.
Former Banking and Financial Services Union (BFSU) Executive Secretary Patrick Tay said: “There are new and possible growth opportunities which the Fintech sector has brought about and will benefit as new jobs and new areas to gather new knowledge in the token space.”
Job Opportunities in Fintech
In 2022 alone, fintech created more than 40,000 new jobs, from engineering to data science. The fintech industry is one of the most outstanding employers compared with the other sectors, making up 20 per cent of all fintech companies in Singapore.
Due to the domino effect of increased digital services, alongside the creation of complex cybercrime attacks, the fintech industry has seen a rising demand for workers with digital threat management skills.
According to some reports on cybercrime, there was almost a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in the average number of security breaches in organisations.
Thus, jobs such as IT Security and Vulnerable Management, User Interface Designers and Data Analysts were founded and are in high demand.
More than 3,400 cybersecurity professionals were in demand in Singapore in 2020 and 2021 – almost a 110 per cent rise in demand compared to 2017 and 2018.
Fintech companies, however, often face being unable to supply the right talent. Since fintech is a comparatively new sector with intense competition, it is not easy to find enough workers with the required skills.
Keeping Up with Advancements
“There are a series of programmes which Singapore Fintech Association, Blockchain Association of Singapore, BFSU, and IHLs such as Ngee Ann Poly and the Polyfintech100 team have come up with.
“Their programmes include some jointly organised ones such as the Fintech Foundation Programme or the Fintech 101 programme, which is available for public access at no charge to gain a rudimentary understanding,” said Mr Tay.
As Singapore pursue technological advancements to become a smart nation, more jobs in the fintech industry and cryptocurrency are expected to open up and continue booming over the next few years.
Hence, to keep pace with the ongoing and future digital developments, workers should look at upskilling themselves to gain more knowledge on the rising industry that could soon become part of daily life.